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UNH Welcomes Brockton Enterprise Editor as 2009 Visiting Journalist

By Lori Wright, Media Relations
March 25, 2009

Despite the challenges the print media faces in this era of online competition, Massachusetts managing editor Steve Damish, '83, contends that never before have newspaper reporters and editors had more reach, more impact, more say -- or more fun doing their jobs. UNH welcomes the alum as the 2009 Donald Murray Visiting Journalist.

Damish, managing editor of The Enterprise in Brockton, Mass., is visiting journalism classes this week. On Tuesday he presented a talk titled "Journalism - It's (still) a Wonderful Life."

In his talk, Damish explained why, more than ever, news organizations need properly trained journalists, that newspaper reporters and editors are not facing extinction, but are instead in the midst of an evolution -- one that will reward those with the ability to endure and adapt.

In his 25 years of working as a newspaper reporter and editor, Damish has received more than two dozen national and regional awards for everything from humor writing to column writing to investigative reporting.

In 2007, he was named the New England Newspaper Association Journalist of the Year for "Wasted Youth," a series of stories he co-wrote and edited that exposed the OxyContin and heroin epidemic among young adults in southeastern Massachusetts. The series also earned Damish a variety of other national and regional honors, including four first-place national prizes and two second place honors in column writing, investigative reporting, community service, and feature writing. "Wasted Youth" was named a national finalist for public service reporting by The Associated Press Managing Editors organization, and earned first place for health reporting, social issues reporting, investigative series, general news coverage and Web reporting by The New England Press Association. The series was also featured as the centerpiece for an A&E documentary called "Intervention In-Depth: Heroin Hits Home."

Most important to Damish is that the series prompted changes in how New England and federal agencies deal with youth addiction.

The Donald Murray Visiting Journalist Program honors the late Donald Murray, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who started the UNH journalism program in 1963. Terry Williams, publisher of The Telegraph of Nashua, led the fundraising drive for the program, with primary support coming from The McLean Contributionship and UNH journalism alumni.

Sponsored by the journalism program, the Donald Murray Visiting Journalist Program brings accomplished alumni journalists to campus each year for week-long residencies during which they conduct classes, work with students and student media, and give a public lecture. Recent visiting alums include former TV anchorwoman Natalie Jacobson and sportswriter Jackie MacMullan.

For more information about this year's visiting journalist, contact Sue Hertz, director of the journalism program, at 2-3966 or susan.hertz@unh.edu.

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